The difference between Stanford and Oregon came down to two missed Field Goals in their matchup in Eugene last year. If Oregon bothered to kick a field goal once in a while or actually recruit a top notch high school kicker, they would have won the north title and the Pac-12 all together. The Ducks finished with a 12-1 record and a Fiesta Bowl victory. However, this year is a different story. Chip Kelly is gone; Mark Helfrich is in. The Ducks have to replace a few playmakers on offense and defense such as outside linebacker Dion Jordan and runningback Kenjon Barner. The Duck still have Marcus Mariota and DeAnthony Thomas. Contrary to popular belief, I do not believe the Ducks should increase the workload of Thomas. He is much more effective with less touches and it will prevent him from burning out or getting to many hits.
Oregon Ducks vs Nicholls State Colonels
This should be a simple opener for the Ducks. The Ducks will start fast and finish fast. I expect to see Mariota to dominate through the air and more than likely on the ground as well. I expect DeAnthony Thomas to get his yards and a few touchdowns. However, look for these two names Byron Marshall and Thomas Tyner. Marshall was the runningback who received majority of the carries during spring practice. Meanwhile, Tyner is the heavily touted freshman from the state of Oregon. Ducks should run of the score in this one.
Oregon Ducks (1-0) @ Virginia Cavaliers
This is another game that should not give Oregon much problems. It's also on ESPN or ABC so expect the Ducks to put on a show in their first national televised game of the season (They always try to do). Mariota should not have a problem against a defense that gave up an average 28.9 points per game. Mariota will be a dual threat and Thomas will run wild against the Cavaliers.
Result: Ducks win 56-10
Oregon Ducks (2-0) vs Tennessee Volunteers
The Volunteers are not what they used to be. However, the Ducks will not take them likely. The Ducks only care that the Volunteers represent the SEC. The Ducks believe their program can hang with the SEC. I expect the Ducks to run up the score on Tennessee. Mariota and company will continue their ferocious assault on the ground and determine the outcome before half time.
Result: Ducks win 55-13
Oregon Ducks (3-0) vs California Golden Bears
Over the past couple of years, the Golden Bears have been able to scare the Ducks but not beat them. The Golden Bears have a new coach in Sonny Dykes. He will bring an explosive offense to the Golden Bears but it will take some time. I expect Cal to put up a good first half fight but the Ducks will pull away late thanks to DeAnthony Thomas and the Ducks running game.
Result: Ducks win 47-17
Oregon Ducks (4-0) @ Colorado Buffaloes
The Ducks made the Buffaloes look silly when these two teams met last year. DeAnthony Thomas's punt return from that game is on highlight films for college plays of the last year. I expect the Buff struggle once again against the Ducks. The Buff do not have a solid, experience quarterback and they have inexperienced players everywhere. This has the makings of a complete and total massacre.
Result: Ducks win 47-7
Oregon Ducks (5-0) @ Washington Huskies
This should be the Ducks first true challenge. The word from Huskies camp is Keith Price has been taking strides as a leader and is posed for a great season. We hear this generic description coming out of every program but I think this one will hold true. Price will be the toughest quarterback the Ducks will have seen to that point and he can challenge the Ducks secondary, which lost John Boyett to the NFL. Also, the Ducks need to watch out for Bishop Sankey. He is a deceivingly effective runningback. To make matters worse the game will be in the newly renovated Huskies Stadium, a place where many opponents come to die. Ducks should pull it out after a tight three quarters.
Result: Ducks win 43-34
Oregon Ducks (6-0) vs Washington State Cougars
This game can either be a Ducks blowout or an entertaining shootout. It depends on how the Cougars are playing coming into the game. The Cougars should find much success airing the ball out. The Ducks do not have the most talented secondary in the world. The Cougars, through the amount of times they throw, will find gaps in the Ducks secondary. However, the Ducks offense can still overwhelm the Cougars defense on numerous occasions. Expect the Cougars to keep it close for the first half and into the third before the Ducks stomp all over them.
Result: Ducks win 50-28
Oregon Ducks (7-0) vs UCLA Bruins
This is a possible trap game for the Ducks, who could be looking forward to the matchup with Stanford the following week. UCLA is more than capable of upsetting the Ducks at Autzen Stadium. The Bruins have lost Johnathan Franklin but still have Brett Hundley. Expect Hundley to attack the Ducks with both his arm and legs. However, the Ducks can expose the holes in UCLA's defense. Anthony Barr may be back for the Bruins but they lost Datone Jones to the NFL Draft. That's a huge loss in the middle of the defensive line and the Ducks are a notorious running football team.
Result: Ducks win 50-31
Oregon Ducks (8-0) @ Stanford Cardinal
This is the most anticipated game in the Pac-12 this year. This game will most likely decide the Pac-12 North title. I think Stanford has everything a team needs to win and beat Oregon but here's something interesting: The Ducks have not lost to the same opponent in two consecutive seasons since Boise State in 2008 and 2009. You have to go back to 2006 and 2007 to find the last Pac-12 (then Pac-10) schools to do the same to the Ducks, which were the Cal Golden Bears and the Oregon State Beavers. The one thing Stanford has going for them is it is on their home field. This is virtually a coin flip. I think their will be a bit more points scored but still a close one
Result: Ducks win 29-27
Oregon Ducks (9-0) vs Utah Utes
Compared to the Stanford Cardinals, the Utah Utes should be a cakewalk. However, I do not expect the Ducks to take them lightly. I expect to see the best of Marcus Mariota and the Ducks' offense in a complete rout.
Result: Ducks win 57-10
Oregon Ducks (10-0) @ Arizona Wildcats
This should be a fun game to watch. It depends on the Wildcats' new quarterback develops (whoever Rich Rodriguez chooses). This is another game that could be a shootout or a Ducks rout (like it was last year when these teams met). However, anything can happen when a team plays against an explosive offense on the road. I expect the Ducks to meet the challenge head on and win a tough gae comfortable.
Result: Ducks win 46-21
Oregon Ducks (11-0) vs Oregon State Beavers
The seventh oldest rivalry in college football takes centerstage in the final week of Pac-12 play. The Civil War will be a spectacular showdown. The Ducks' Marcus Mariota will be the main highlight. His combination of running speed and throwing efficiency will spell problems for the Beavers. Also, the Beavers have no one comparable or remotely fast enough to contain Oregon's runningbacks DeAnthony Thomas, Thomas Tyner, or Byron Marshall. Don't get me wrong, Mike Riley finds ways to bottle up the Ducks offense for a bit but that's it. I expect this Civil War to be closer than the past few but the result will still be the same.
Result: Ducks win 38-28
Yes, I can see the Ducks with a 12-0 record and thus earning a birth to the National Title game. However, there are four games for a possible trip up: @ Washington, @ Stanford, @ Arizona, and vs Oregon State. However, if the Ducks take care of their business, there should be no reason why the Ducks are not in the National Title game